I'm beginning to think some of this is my fault. It just keeps happening, and it keeps happening in areas that are supposedly under my control. That's a slippery slope these days. My control of almost everything isn't what it used to be. A guy who can't keep from sneezing himself nearly unconscious day after day shouldn't be responsible for anything as delicate as the future of a company.
The latest is a demand from the state of California for taxes that I know we're not supposed to pay. The problem is, we were supposed to get a waiver, and I can't find any response from the state to my request for an application for a waiver.
Yes, it really is that complicated. The state taxes companies in businesses that they think might deal in dangerous amounts of lead. We don't deal with any dangerous lead at all, in any amount, but we still get a tax bill from the state every year. It tells me how much to pay, but it gives me the option of requesting an application for a waiver. (Here we go again.)
Then the state sends me the application, and I fill it out, and the waiver is granted, and I don't have to think about it until the next year. Which is why I don't. I don't think about it unless the paperwork is in front of me. And if the state forgets to send the application, or if it gets misplaced, it's not getting filled out, because I'm not thinking about it. And then we get a day like today.
When the bill came, it said we had until the end of the month to pay some outrageous amount for dealing with hazardous lead in the year 2001. I wrote two versions of a polite letter to the state agency, telling them what idiots they are, but only because it sounds better that way than to admit what an idiot I am. Or might be, I really don't know.
One version says, "Here's your money, now look through your paperwork and give us the refund we deserve." The Boss didn't like that one. He doesn't believe in paying what we don't owe, and he doesn't believe we'll ever get it back.
The other letter says, "Here's your bill. We're not paying, and if you look through their paperwork you'll see why." I was a little uncomfortable with that one, because by this time I'd convinced myself that they wouldn't find a record of our application, since I couldn't find my copy of it. Things aren't always where they're supposed to be in my files, but they're there somewhere, if they exist.
I presented both versions of the letter to the Boss, and he chose Option C. He phoned the state agency and talked to a real person. Well, I have to admit that even if I'd thought of that, I would have thought it over so long that even more penalties would be due by the time I got around to taking action. I just don't do phone calls.
He manage to extract a retroactive application for 2001 out of the woman he charmed in Sacramento. She faxed it to me, and you'd better believe I filled it out and faxed it back before I even read another chapter of the book. (You know. The Book. I'm on chapter 17, paddling furiously to keep up with the current.)